3DMark Fire Strike Ultra
We start with 3DMark as always to provide a baseline for our analysis. Fire Strike Ultra runs natively in 4K, and is quite challenging for any modern system. We're reporting the Overall and Graphics, dropping the Combined Score and Physics Score, as these are determined in part by the platform, which remained a constant throughout our testing. Right out of the gate, we can see that our 1080 Ti SLI setup is shockingly fast, besting the 1080 SLI duo by 29% and picking up another 9% boost once overclocked. When it comes to SLI setups, however, a lot of enthusiasts are rightfully most concerned about scaling, which is something we'll highlight a number of times throughout this article. In 3DMark, the 1080 Ti SLI duo beats a single 1080 Ti by 92% at reference speeds and a surprising 97% once overclocked. Now, these are the kind of numbers that would get gamers to open up their wallets in droves, but we're going to have to burst their bubble right off the bat... the 1080 Ti SLI duo wasn't able to achieve this level of scaling in any one of our eight actual game tests, for reasons we'll get into a bit later on after analyzing all the data.
Just one quick note: we're highlighting the 1080 Ti SLI results in green throughout our charts just to make them easy to spot, but they're directly comparable to all the other results.
Crysis is as close to a universal PC benchmark as we've ever seen in an actual PC game. That's why we keep it around, even though it was released way back in 2013. The fact that it can still bring systems to their knees is a testament to the skill of Crytek engineers, who were able to provide a view of the future of PC gaming with their advanced game engine. There's no more obvious evidence of this than the spectacular scaling of SLI in this game. Despite the prodigious amount of GPU power that 1080 Ti SLI offers, we still see scaling of over 80%, and when overclocked, the 1080 Ti SLI duo actually hits 100fps, which is just mind-blowingly fast for a 4K result in this game. But there are signs even here of cracks forming in the 1080 Ti SLI's armor, as the scaling falls off significantly versus the 1070 SLI setup, which was near 95%. The reason: CPU limitations are rearing their ugly head. You'll hear more about this shortly....
Far Cry 4
In Far Cry 4, we've seen the unusual result of SLI scaling at over 100% in various testing we've done, including on 1070 SLI and 1080 SLI. Well, with the 1080 Ti SLI setup scaling is still quite good, at 93% for the stock-clocked duo and 85% once the cards were overclocked, but again, we suspect a CPU limitation is getting in the way. Note that this game is very playable at 4K even with a single GTX 1080 Ti, so the SLI results are pretty wild - consider for example that they're fast enough to max out unreleased 4K 144Hz monitors, which we anticipate will hit the market in late 2017!
On the next page, we'll move on to a number of more recent games, all of which have pushed the limits of PC performance while also advancing the state of PC gaming generally.